Monday, 7 November 2016

Exam malpractices and effect on quality education

You can no longer argue more than to agree that education and quality of education in Africa has been watered and schools are springing up every where, yet it is unaffordable to many.  it seems as if the more the schools, the more quality drops. Many people go through school and school had not gone through them. This is made worst when corporate employers are complaining that they find it difficult to find or recruit best hands from graduates churned out of our tertiary institutions this days.  I tend to believe what Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps, Director General once said and I quote - “It is worrisome to see and know that most of our graduates in Nigeria do not know how to read and write”. That is worrisome, but too late a blame.         
The original game            
Image result for africa students in exams malpractices picturesExamination in schools in Africa is really lucrative and big time business for Shylock educational stakeholders and down lines.  Students and parents know about it; is a matter of cash. Student who pays shall pass exams. It is that bad, it is that, simply.
It starts from the cradle like play, like play when teachers in primary schools help to answer questions for pupils during common entrance examination. Then it grows bigger at the secondary school level, where students already know they will be helped by teachers during exams. Parents negotiate with schools at a cost for cheating in exam on behalf of their wards. Parents call such school "good schools".     
West Africa Examination Council aka WAEC for instance, is a regulated regional examination body that conducts exams across West Africa countries for secondary students for over 64 years running. The exam is prerequisite for admission into tertiary institutions from secondary school. But the body has consistently raised alarm of examination malpractices, and Nigeria taking the lead.There are rogue websites where students pay to registered and logged in to access leaked and fake exams question papers with answers. Student no longer read their books because of this, teachers no longer teach and cover syllabus, and schools are careless with teaching facilities, all doesn’t matter to them anymore. In as much as they aid and abate exam malpractices for their students to pass. I wonder what morals school teaches young people this days. We are after certificates, Certificate they can barely defend.  
I remember when WAEC exams are drawing closer, parents will begin to swap their wards to "miracle schools" and exam centers where teachers answer questions on board for students to copy. And you call that exam? Exam Miracle centers usually charges high fees far more than other. The school charges these high fees - called“corporation money", which is meant to be shared among examiners, typists, WAEC staff, printers, transporters and security agents.  These chain-of-people are involved in WAEC examination, and it is with their corporation and alignment that malpractice in exam can succeed.
Then, into the tertiary institution it gets worst. Mercenaries are brought in to write exams, Lecturers sleeps with girls (students) to score them high points, those that reject the approach fails. Handouts are produced and sold to students at exorbitant prices and if you don’t buy, you will fail. And on, and on and on!  It is like a story of a child stealing his/her way through school into office. What will you expect? He/she must steal in that office. This is what is happening in Africa now. Education has become certificated and  is clear our content is diluted.  Image result for africa students in exams malpractices pictures
Is there hope 
I am told of UNESCO idea for counties to fund education by 26% GDP from budget, and for the period of  five years and I am learning the sense in this. I can explain why we find it difficult to implement it Africa. In Nigeria for instance, giving 26% of our budget to education is not really a difficult deal as a country. But Nigeria will not do that? Never, tell me why is it that Nigeria spends less than 9% of its budget is on education?  And I will tell you why students are leaving schools in Nigeria to schools in smaller African countries in droves. I will tell more why our school certificates are ignored at world stage and many more. 
To the point, WAEC in a wake is introducing the use of technology to verify candidates by bio metrics and I hope this works. I read that World Bank has again approved $45 million to boost education in Nigeria, believing that investing in people is essential part of Nigeria’s strategy to reduce poverty and achieve steady economic growth. The money is meant to boost employment opportunities for young people and improve education quality for Nigerian students. That’s right. But my greatest fear is that this money should not get into bottomless pit like the others. You know the one I am talking about.   
Look at smaller African nations like Botswana spend 19%, Swaziland 24.6%, Cote d’ Ivoire 30%, Burkina Faso16.8%, Ghana 31%, Kenya 23%, Uganda 27%, Tunisia 17% and Morocco 17.7%  of their budget on education. And schools in these countries are relatively better. According to Economists Intelligence Unit for Pearson, USA, a body that analyses school systems performances globally, found that, Finland’ education system is the best in the world and is 100% state funded. It is my belief that if African leaders give attention to education, by increasing funds allocated to education sector in budget; it can help revive the system. System where teachers/ lecturers are paid well and on good time, system where exam stakeholders are contented and truthful, system where students knows that exam is  proof of knowledge, system where parents refuses to pay money for teachers to help their children during exams, system where everybody will be responsible and accountable. That system will give new hope to Africa and to the world.